Opioids are powerful drugs that adhere to the opioid receptors in the brain, dulling the sense of pain throughout the body. This is why these drugs are often prescribed by physicians to help patients cope with pain after surgery or injury. However, opioids also affect the brain’s reward/pleasure system. They can cause a sense of euphoria that makes them highly addictive. If taken improperly, opioids can form a dangerous dependency and result in severe emotional, mental, and physical challenges.
Short term effects of opioid use
One of the most prevalent opioids is heroin, which is a powerful drug derived from poppies. While heroin is illegal, there are numerous opioids that can be obtained through a physician’s prescription. These include oxycodone, hydrocodone, codeine, and morphine, as well as several others. While beneficial and useful in the right context, with prolonged exposure to these drugs, patients can develop a dependency. Opioids are so addictive because while they mask pain, they also bring the user feelings of pleasure and euphoria. Other effects include drowsiness, lethargy, and sedation.
Long term effects of opioid addiction
Long term exposure to opioids can lead to a dependence and a dangerous addiction with numerous side effects. Opioids often affect the gastrointestinal system, resulting in nausea and vomiting, abdominal distention and bloating, and severe constipation. These are all uncomfortable side effects, and present their own dangers–such as dehydration–but opioids are far more dangerous still. Not only do they cause discomfort, they can also damage the liver, especially if acetaminophen is present in the drug. Because opioids cause respiratory depression, or slow breathing, they can result in brain damage due to hypoxia, which is when oxygen is denied to the brain. Finally, opioid addicts can develop a tolerance to the desired effects of the drug. This means that they must take higher and higher doses in order to achieve the same sense of euphoria. As the doses grow higher so does the danger, leading to overdoses which can be fatal.
On average, 23 people die of opioid overdoses every month in Utah alone. In fact, Utah has one of the highest rates of opioid abuse in the nation. Do not let yourself or your loved ones become another victim of this epidemic. If you, or someone you know, has become addicted to opioids, reach out to us at Renew Wellness. We can help you, or those close to you, overcome this addiction.